Target: Dr. Russell Reichelt FTSE, Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Goal: Limit “last-chance tourism” to protect the Great Barrier Reef from further damage.
The Great Barrier Reef has lost roughly half of its corals in the past 30 years due to a vast array of human-caused threats. Global warming, overfishing, shipping, and coastal development put the reef at risk and have earned it a spot on lists of tourist destinations to “see before they’re gone.” The latest threat, in addition to all the others, is the resultant increase in the number of tourists.
The demise of the Great Barrier Reef has been covered by the media. Coral bleaching has been epidemic; studies estimate that up to 93 percent of corals have been affected and that number will only continue to rise. This has caused an upswing in visitors who want to experience the reef before it disappears.
This is referred to as “last-chance tourism,” and while it is presently beneficial to Australia’s tourism sector, it may be extremely damaging to the reef itself, which is already fragile. Environmental research shows that more people invading this vulnerable environment means more stress on the reef’s ecosystem, which has already become unbalanced.
Human carelessness has caused harm on a massive scale to this beautiful and unique system of life. It is the least we can do to limit any further damage we might cause, even if some industries may see a decrease in their profits. Tourism to the Great Barrier Reef should be closely monitored, and tourists must be informed about the potential ecological damage involved in visiting such an at-risk area. Sign below to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Dear Chairman Reichelt,
The Great Barrier Reef is one of nature’s wonders, and the threats that have nearly brought it to its demise are almost entirely human-caused. We only continue to put it under more strain as tourist visits to the reef increase from people who want to “see it before it’s gone.”
The invasion of more people into this already damaged and fragile ecosystem is an unnecessary and preventable harm. “Last-chance tourism” may be financially beneficial for now, but we are coming near a tipping point–the reef may eventually be viewed as too far gone to visit. We only bring that threshold closer by failing to do what we can to protect this amazing ecosystem.
More than that, it is our responsibility to preserve the reef however we are able after all of the damage it has sustained at the hands of global warming, coastal development, overfishing, and so many other human threats. I urge you to ensure that tourists who visit the Great Barrier Reef are made aware of the ecological damage they may cause, and that the volume of visits are monitored with the best interests of the reef, and not the tourism industry, at the forefront.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kyle Taylor